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Antique Safes/1926 Safe Cabinet


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  I have a Standard SE Type safe manufactured by The Safe Cabinet Co in Marietta Ohio.  I believe that it was manufactured around the 20's.  I need to clean the safe up and am afraid to use a household cleaner, I do not want to damage the finish.  I could use soap and water but I do not want to cause rust either.  What is the recommended way to clean an old safe like this without damaging the paint. Also the safe has 8 small disks spaced around the bottom (picture attached) that I have no idea what purpose they serve.  I would appreciate any advice on cleaning and what the disks are for.  

Thanks in advance.

Ben Bailey


I'll start with the "disc's" - I've looked at numerous similar safes from this company and haven't seen a single one with these items, this would lead me to believe that these were possibly added at some point.   Another possibility would be - most of the other examples had a "skirt" around the bottom of the safe, similar to the "cap" around the top of the safe.   As yours doesn't have this item (possibly missing), these "disc's" may have been an attachment point.   The skirt may simply have "hung" from these items.   As evenly spaced as they are, this would probably be my best guess.

I'm not sure what you are planning on accomplishing with your cleaning, as you are worried about the paint???  If all you are planning is a "simple wipe down", I would use something like "Pledge", which will clean and provide a somewhat protective finish.

There are plenty of products on the market that will clean and polish, even possibly revitalize the paint.   I would recommend that you use a similar product that you would use on your car to clean and possibly polish it.   Generally most automotive polishes, will provide a protective finish, and help to keep it nice looking.

generally just like with your car, don't leave the water standing on the safe, make sure that you dry it off.    I probably wouldn't use a garden hose to wash it off, as water tends to get in every crack and crevice.    There may be some waterless cleaners and polishes at the automotive store.

Hope this helps,

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Terry V. Andreasen (Andy)


Safe and Vault related Questions; Antique Safe Repair and Restoration; With over 44 years in the Safe & Vault industry, if I can't answer your question I know where to get the answer. Current Project: Restoration of an Ely Norris Cannonball Safe from the early 1900's. Will answer Safe & Vault related questions concerning age, value, restoration, moving, opening & repairing, parts, operation and history. Note: It is not my intention to teach you to open safes or to provide information which may aid in the unlawful opening of a safe. I will not give out drill points or information which I deem inappropriate.


44 years in the Safe & Vault Industry. Owner and Service Manager for one of the largest Safe & Vault companies on the West Coast. Graduate of Lockmasters Safe Lock Servicing, Safe lock Manipulation and Safe Deposit Lock Courses. Graduate of Locksmith Institute. Author of "The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes". Certified Instructor for the California Locksmith Association teaching Basic and Advanced Lock Servicing, Basic Safe opening and Repairing. Factory Trained by AMSEC, LORD Safes, LeFebure, Mosler, KabaMas, LaGard and Sargent & Greenleaf

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The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes

Graduate of Locksmith Institute 1972 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Lock Servicing 1974 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Lock Manipulation 1975 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Deposit Lock Servicing 1985 Instructor Certified - California Locksmith Association - 1985 Factory trained by AMSEC, MAJOR, STAR, Johnson-Pacific, Kaba-MAS, Allied-Gary, ISM, Lord, Brown Safe, EXL, Mosler, Diebold.

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2009 - 2015 Listed in AllExperts top 50 Experts. All Experts Categories - Safes & Security Containers, Locksmithing, Antique Safes. Retired US Army Chief Warrant Officer (CW4), with 39 years of total service. With numerous awards from Vietnam, Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. US Navy - 1971-1981 US Army Reserve 1984-2013 US Army Retired

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